ABC News presents a new prime-time series, “The Genetic Detective,” that follows investigative genetic genealogist CeCe Moore and her work with DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs. In the series, Moore and her team are revolutionizing crime-solving by working with police departments and accessible crime scene DNA to help trace the path of a criminal suspect’s family tree, uncover their identity and bring them to justice.
“The Genetic Detective” premieres Tuesday, May 19 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
For the past decade, Moore, a self-trained genetic genealogist, has pioneered genetic genealogy techniques utilizing a growing body of genetic data in conjunction with traditional genealogical records to help adoptees find their birth parents and to solve family mysteries. Since 2018, Moore has used her unique research skills to transform the face of crime-solving, helping to identify more than 100 violent criminal suspects.
Watch The Genetic Detective Episode 2 Promo
“I had a growing passion for genetic genealogy and I recognized its power very early on. Yet at the time in 2010, there was no such thing as a professional genetic genealogist so I had to blaze my own trail in order to make this my full-time career,” said Moore.
“I knew the potential these techniques had for solving mysteries – really, for any type of human identification. Whether it is an adoptee looking to find their birth parents or helping law enforcement track down a potential suspect, this process provides answers in a new way and helps a family move beyond something that’s painful or has been burdening them.”
In the series premiere, Moore works with Seattle’s Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and takes on her first-ever cold case as a genetic genealogist – the double homicide of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg.
The young couple disappeared in 1987 after taking a ferry from Vancouver to Seattle and were later found miles apart, gagged, bound, and brutally murdered. With a smattering of clues, but no real leads, the case was cold for 30 years. The episode includes interviews with Jay’s parents, Gordon and Leona Cook; Tanya’s brother John Van Cuylenborg; Snohomish County law enforcement retired Sheriff Rick Bart and Detective Jim Scharf; and radio reporter Hanna Scott.
“The Genetic Detective” will also examine the murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley with Indiana’s Fort Wayne Police Department; the double homicide of mother and daughter, Sherri and Megan Scherer, with the New Madrid County Sheriff’s Department in Missouri; as well as the murder of Genevieve Zitricki with the Greenville Police Department in South Carolina; the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge with Idaho Falls Police Department in Idaho; the Ramsey Street Rapist with North Carolina’s Fayetteville Police Department; and the 2018 rape of 79-year-old Carla Brooks with Utah’s St. George Police Department.